An incumbent vice president has no immunity from legal action under the 1987 Constitution, Department of Justice Sec. Menardo Guevarra maintained.
In 2019, Guevarra said Vice President Leni Robredo was made respondent to a complaint due to her alleged role in a ploy to topple President Duterte.
“When VP Robredo was included in sedition charges in 2019 in connection with alias Bikoy’s allegations, I remarked that the VP was not immune from suit under the present Constitution. My opinion has not changed,” Guevarra was quoted in reports as saying last week.”
The case against Robredo was dismissed later by prosecutors for insufficiency of evidence, but not due to immunity.
The DOJ chief, however, hastened to clarify to Justice beat reporters that he wasn’t commenting on the statements made by Mr. Duterte during the recent PDP-Laban meeting in Clark Freeport that he would run for vice president in the 2022 polls to avoid criminal prosecution when he reverts to being an ordinary citizen after stepping down from office.
“Please note that I am not commenting on (Duterte’s) recent statement about his belief in the VP’s immunity from suit, which I consider as part of a political statement rather than a legal conclusion on his part.”
Malacanang said that the President is floating this possibility as he wants the issue to be ultimately settled by the courts.
“The VP has no immunity from suit. That is rewriting the Constitution and even jurisprudence. Only the President is immune from suit, but this is not even spelled out in the present 1987 Constitution,” the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said.